Veteran Stories:
Don Leier

Army

  • Don Leier (front) with two South Korean soldiers who assisted Canadian troops.

    Don Leier
  • Two South Koreans who assisted Canadian soldiers.

    Don Leier
  • The scenery around 37th Field Ambulance in Korea.

    Don Leier
  • Medical personnel in front of an ambulance at 37th Field Ambulance's position.

    Don Leier
  • Medical personnel at 37th Field Ambulance's medical station.

    Don Leier
  • Medical personnel at 37th Field Ambulance's medical station.

    Don Leier
  • Medical personnel treating the wounded at 37th Field Ambulance.

    Don Leier
  • Soldiers resting near 37th Field Ambulance's medical station in Korea.

    Don Leier
  • A member of the Royal Canadian Army Medical Corps at a Korean monument.

    Don Leier
  • Korean monument photographed by members of the Royal Canadian Army Medical Corps.

    Don Leier
  • A RCAMC personnel posing with a Korean monument.

    Don Leier
  • Soldier Don Lynch in front of a tent at 37th Field Ambulance.

    Don Leier
  • Don Leier with 37th Field Ambulance in Korea.

    Don Leier
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"When we came back from Korea, or at least when I did, a couple of years later I wanted to buy a house through the Veterans’ Land Act, and they told me Korea wasn’t a war, I don’t qualify."

Transcript

When I was, say, a mile and a half from the front my duties were to take the people that were brought from the front to that station and do whatever we do to, you know, get them ready for the doctor, or do better managing or whatever the case may be.  And after a week of that, we went back to our base camp and then my duties were what I said before.  And then when that was done, you went to the front and you spent a week there, you either went out on patrol with them at night or, if it wasn’t a very heavy one, you stayed back and if there was anybody wounded or something you just helped the doctor or the senior medical just to look after them.

Sometimes you went on patrol and there was nobody there.  Sometimes you heard … or, like, we were just the followers, eh.  And sometimes they’d drop down and they’d shoot.  And the chances are, whether they seen something, or heard something or just scared shitless and just shooting, you never know.  But there was the odd time you had to look after a bullet wound or a sprained ankle, you know, ‘cause you’re at night. There was ten or twelve infantry and there was usually like, say, me as a medic and two other medics, they were stretcher bearers, because you had to carry your own stretchers.  And that’s about all.  If there was any wounded people, we just did what we could there, and got them on the stretcher and took them back to the camp at the front.  And then there was other people looked after on there and then they were shipped back to a mile and a half from the front and they were looked at better there.  And then they were sent back to our base medic camp.

Being where I was, being in the Medical Corps we had streams of [civilian] people  going through past our camp, stopping at the camp to beg for food and going straight on up to the garbage dumps and go through there, we had to send people sometimes to … sort of, chase them away from there ‘cause it doesn’t look good, to you, but people were hungry, so what the hell, sometimes I wouldn’t always chase them away, because they were hungry, and there were young ones, young kids.

Actually, the people from World War II and any other war, they had more welcoming home by government and public people than the people from Korea that came back from Korea.  Matter of fact, when we came back from Korea, or at least when I did, a couple of years later I wanted to buy a house through the Veterans’ Land Act, and they told me Korea wasn’t a war, I don’t qualify.  And it took us through … I think it was through the KVA [Korea Veterans Association], finally the government settled and said, yes, Korea was a war.

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